John Berryman was an American poet and academic who was a major presence in the literary world during the 20th century.
Born in Oklahoma in 1914, he spent his early years in Oklahoma, where he was born. At the age of ten, his parents moved to Florida. However, just one year later, in 1926, his father committed suicide, an event that left an indelible mark on the life of Berryman from this early age.
Following this, his life was once again turned upside down, moving to New York, with his mother, who re-married and it was from his new step-father that he took his surname. His varied upbringing continued as he went to private school in Connecticut, before attending university in Columbia and then Cambridge in the UK.
He is best remembered for his contributions to the emergence of confessional poetry from the 1950’s. His best known work is the Dream Songs, a considerable compilation of poetry, which earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 1965.
Susan will be joined by Dr. Philip Coleman and poet and playwright Paula Meehan to discuss the life and work of John Berryman.
Philip is the Director of the M.Phil in Literatures of the Americas and the Literary Arts Officer in Trinity College Dublin, while Paula is currently the Ireland Professor of Poetry.
Did Berryman’s traumatic childhood shape him as a poet? Was religion a key factor in his life and work? And how has he influenced poetry today?
Listen in to hear Susan, Philip and Paula discuss these questions and more.
Then, in part two, Susan will be joined by Edward Skidelsky to discuss his recent book ‘How Much is Enough: Money and the Good Life’ which he jointly wrote with his father, Robert.
Robert is the Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick, England and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1994.
He has also led a diverse political career, having been a member of both the Labour and Conservative Party, while he was also involved with short lived Social Democratic Party during the 1980’s.
In the past, he has completed highly acclaimed works on John Maynard Keynes, winning many awards including the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2000.
JM Keynes (right) with US Representative Harry Dexter White
Like his father, Edward attended university in Oxford, graduating with a PHD in 2005 after studying philosophy and politics. He is currently based in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter.
Their recent book explores the Western world’s obsession with money. It is heavily influenced by the work of JM Keynes and his assertion that capitalism would lead a lifestyle of greater leisure and relaxation.
Join Susan and Edward as they discuss his, and Roberts, latest book. Is our relationship with money healthy? Has accumulating wealth become a means to an end? And is the idea of a good life, as discussed in their work, a realistic ambition?